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Interview – Jimmy Olsson – ‘2nd Class’ – A Short Film


Posted August 12, 2018 by

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Interview – Jimmy Olsson – ‘2nd Class’ – A Feature Film

Director Jimmy Olsson’s topical film 2nd Class tackles the sadly relevant issue of racism. Having recently begun its festival run the film has already taken home three awards. Now, this topical film has been selected to play at the Oscar-qualifying Flickers Rhode Island Film Festival.

Charlotte has got a new job as a second grade teacher. One night she is attacked by a nazi and is severely injured. When she comes back to her students she discovers that one of her students is the son of a nazi.

Swedish writer and director Jimmy Olson studied at film school in Stockholm and went on to create nine films. His filmography includes 2nd Class, the comedy Palmegruppen tar långlunch, Void, Ceasar, the comedy Bättre Ränta, Förträngd, Linjer and Leva, leva, leva. Olsson prefers stories that focus on the human being, inner self and relations. When he is not doing short films or writing scripts he directs commercials.

2nd Class stars newcomer Hannah Alem Davidsoon and introduces Mio Melberg. Olsson makes a cameo as the Nazi and the beautiful cinematography was created by Bo Pärletun.

Interview - Jimmy Olsson 2nd class


To begin with, tell us about your latest film ‘2ndClass’, where did the idea come from? How did you get involved with the film?

Last year I was writing a feature and there were Nazis in Charlottesville demonstrating and also all around Europe as well. It felt so primitive with the torches and you could almost smell the fear among the protesters. I have written about fear for a while now and I find it fascinating. I thought about where everything comes from, opinions about the world and other people and all that. It all comes back to how we are taught from the beginning, when we are kids. We all look up to our parents and what they tell us is the truth, our truth and therefore I wanted to make a film about this, how we all can change how we communicate to children.

Tell us about the cast, who is starring in ‘2ndClass’?

I found Hannah who plays Charlotte in Gothenburg at the theatre where she works and I immediately felt something about her presence and the way she carries herself. Even though she has done mainly theatre it was no problem for her to translate her acting to film. Hopefully she will do more film in the future. The little boy Mio I found when I casted a bunch of kids and me and the 1 AD immeditaly felt that he was the one and he was the last one we casted as well so were in luck. He really listened carefully to my instructions and I felt that he really understood them as well. He had made on small part earlier in another short film but he is a pure natural and those kids are really rare, in Sweden at least.

Did you face any significant challenges throughout the film’s production?

We actually took a risk making it because me and the DP decided that we wanted to shoot in a certain way with long takes and we always said that we should focus on the lead, following her at all times and we didn’t want to cover the scenes in a conventional way and we had no other shots to cut away to so we had to trust our plan from the get go. That was quite nerve-wracking but I am very pleased with the outcome. It was a nice experiment and I guess you´re allowed to do just that when you make short films.

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

Im influenced by film makers such as Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, The Dardenne brothers, Michael Haneke to name a few. With that said I´m not into hard core and strange stuff. I still needs to be relatable. I really like to create a realistic nerve but to still make it a bit cinematic with the mood and tone. I think it´s beautiful to combine poetry with realism and film allows you to do that, working with metaphors and symbols and sub text. I like to try to achieve poignant content and it could be the smallest of things, almost a compressed thing where your whole life is said in one sentence. Together with great cinematography and music, that´s the best.

When and where can we expect to see ‘2ndClass’?

It´s on several film festivals all over the world at the moment and next up is Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival and It has won several awards so far so I´m hoping for a long run at the circuit and a lot more festivals in the US.

What advice would you give any up-and-coming filmmakers, trying to crack the industry?

I started out doing this and that on set. Learn a little bit about all the positions behind the camera. That way you get to know a lot of people and then it could be easier for you to contact them when it´s time to make your own first film.

What is the next step for you? Do you have any other films or projects in production?

Im currently financing my first feature and that takes time. It´s a film I wrote last year and It´s a film that I have to make and I´m always on the lookout for producers or other people in the business. Feel free to contact me if you want to hear about it.  I´m also writing two other features at the same time so right now I´m in this creative flow and that´s fun. I´m trying to combine all this with making commercials for a living.


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